Narrow Way

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.1

Consider: When I lean on my own understanding, in addition to not trusting God, am I not also closing my ears towards God?

We acknowledge him by agreeing with and speaking the truth.  Is confession not agreeing with God?  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.2  The enemy wants me to fear punishment and hide my sins.3  The truth sets me free!4  The truth enables me to boldly come to the throne of grace and obtain mercy.5  Do I not need mercy when I am at my worst?6  Paul knew this so he counted everything as lost to be saturated in the mercy and grace of God.7  8  God’s power is made perfect in weakness.9  10

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.11

Consider: “Fear the Lord and shun evil” –do we shun evil out of fear?  Don’t we choose sin because we think it to be good in some way?  Choosing what I think is good –isn’t that being wise in my own eyes?

My Confession: I find myself on my knees nearly every night confessing my sins and failures through out the day.  Today I asked the Lord why I keep doing the same things over and over.12  He simply replied, “You can start your day on your knees or end it on your knees.” After contemplating His response, I realized the outcome is radically different!  One focuses on God and the other on self; the one acknowledges a dependence on God and the other how “I” mismanaged “my” day.

My Prayer:  God, I desire to start on my knees and give You the first fruits of everyday!13  Please forgive me for leaning on my own understanding, trusting in myself and being wise in my own eyes.  Please teach me to acknowledge you in all of my ways and give you the glory and honor that you alone deserve.  Please direct my paths, to shun evil and not turn to the right or the left but instead, to walk in your ways.14

I’m a Link in this Chain – Lord Break Me!

Just yesterday my teen age son decided to deep clean his room.  With the help of a friend they took everything and donated it.  When I got home I asked him what he had done with some key things of value.  His response punched the wind out of me.

Some of the toys my son got rid off were rare and valuable.  Because they were discontinued shortly after I started buying them for him, I had to search and search for the rare pieces and pay a premium.  It was worth it because he enjoyed playing with them and I imagined my son passing them along to his son like I did with my toys to him.

As a boy I had some German toys that were difficult to get because there were limited importers.  They were of the highest quality and also because of rarity they were expensive.  They were construction/building toys combined with modular electronics and photo optics; they even had hydraulic modules, although I only dreamed about someday playing with them.  There was absolutely nothing like them; it was like having a miniature engineering play set.  Due to availability and expense it took years to get the modest number of modules I had.  These were my most coveted toys.  I saved them for my son and when I deemed he was old enough I brought them out so he could play with them.

I was devastated to learn that he donated the most coveted toys of my youth.  I was shocked by the substantial financial loss of these irreplaceable treasures.  There was no undo, I knew there was no recovery; the first person who opened up the case would certainly recognize the uniqueness, quality and value and hide them away.  I was overwhelmed with emotions: I was hurting, I was angry, the loss eclipsed my ability to concentrate on anything else however, the call to love my son was breaking through.  It took a sense of urgency to allow the Holy Spirit to work within me to forgive.  I knew I couldn’t go to sleep without my son hearing me say, “Son, I love you, I forgive you”.

On my face, before the Lord, I prayed and asked for the ability to let go and forgive.  The war within me was real, how could my son and these things be on the same level?  I gave these things to the Lord along with asking that they would be the first of the many things I wrongfully hold on to.  I asked that this would be like the breaching of a dam.  Grace and love to let go entered into my heart; willingly I forgave my son.

Without hurt and anger blinding me, I began asking questions.  The answers, following the impact of this experience, are still working over my heart.  How could my son give away something so important?  The answer is as simple as the implications of it is profound.  Simply, these things were of no importance to my son or he wouldn’t have cast them aside.  I had failed to communicate to my son their value, significance and importance.  How did this happen?  I never played with him…

My Prayer:  Oh God, please forgive me!  My heart is breaking as I’m sure my son’s heart is left wanting.  Search me and show me how I could let this happen.15  Please heal my son from my sin of omission; fill the void with your love.  As it is only possible for you, please love my son through me and soften his heart to receive.  Thank you God, that my son isn’t attached to things, please create a strong bond of love between us.

Lord, I’m a link in this chain, please break me!2

God, I know there is much more at stake than this, which has just scratched the surface and foreshadows much deeper things.3  4  I admit not only have I not taught my children to play but I have not taught them to worship you.5  My failures are too much to bear, I lay them at your feet.6  Please heal my children from the effects of my sin; my sins of commission and omission have left them hurting and wanting.  God, because of who you are, please have mercy on my children and I.  Are you not the God of mercy?

God, I’m still reeling from this vast revelation; I don’t know how to put into words the things that the Holy Spirit is revealing to me.  I’m a link in this chain that was passed along from my father and his father etc.7  Thank you for breaking me, please let this stop with me, heal my children, change me, close the divide between my children and I.  Please, are you not the author of reconciliation?  I know I made this mess however, is it not possible for you to restore what has been lost, in fact, can you not make it even better since you’re able to make all things work for our good?8  Do you not reign over the impossible?9  God, I need impossible, I need you.  Amen

“We do not really believe in God unless we believe He is God of the impossible.” David Wilkerson

Smells Like

As believers, do we carry the presence of God with us everywhere we go?

When a friend of mine was in High School something got under their home and filled their house with the pungent odor that is unmistakably skunk!  After a week the smell still lingered however, they were nose blind to the remaining faint odor.  Perhaps you can imagine how a wool sweater might retain some odor after such an incident but my friend didn’t smell a thing.  While he and a friend walked through the school, engrossed in conversation, she apparently wasn’t aware of the odor until another person commented that it smelled like skunk.  My friend was embarrassed and relieved when the young lady, he was walking with, commented, “Yeah, now that you mention it, the whole school smells like skunk!”

When my friend shared his experience, of course we laughed, but it reminded us of how God, through us, spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

Another friend of mine described it like this, “When you walk in wet shoes, you know that sound every time you take a step and how the water squishes out leaving big wet footprints where you’ve been?”  He said, “It’s like that in the spirit; we carry the Holy Spirit where ever we go.”

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?10

 

My Prayer:  Lord, who is equal to such a task?  Certainly not I; Lord,  your ways and thoughts are not my ways and thoughts.2  How can I accurately represent you?  God please fill me with your love and create in me a clean heart where your Holy Spirit can dwell so that my heart will overflow the fragrance of you to everyone I meet.3  4 Amen.